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EPA-proposed smog regs too onerous for western states

Editorial Board | Albuquerque Journal

New smog reduction regulations could sweep across the nation Thursday if the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency lowers the ozone-producing emission limit – triggering significant new requirements, particularly in Western states.

The EPA is proposing to again lower the standard, this time from the current 75 parts per billion to between 65 and 70 ppb, although environmental groups want the limit even lower at 60 ppb.

State officials and business leaders say the costs, particularly in border states like New Mexico, will be crippling. Environmentalists dispute the point and say the critics are overlooking possible reduced costs associated with improved health from better air quality.

If the standard is lowered, at least one half, and possibly up to two-thirds, of New Mexico’s 33 counties would be out of compliance, according to the New Mexico Environment Department, creating a significant negative impact on New Mexico’s economy and making it difficult for new businesses to get permits or for existing businesses to expand.
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